The Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) kicked off the year with new policies and plans, and now they have the budget to make these plans a reality. On September 7, the UGBC Student Assembly sat down and voted on the organization’s budget for the 2015-2016 academic year. A budget totalling $328,000 was approved by the assembly. This budget represents an increase from last year’s allocated budget of $319,851.
So what goes into creating a UGBC budget? It all begins with an initial draft that the organization draws up in the spring prior to the coming academic year. This proposal is shown to and evaluated by Jonathan Hinrichs, Director of Financial Planning and Services. Each division then works throughout the summer to tweak the budget, cut back where they can and ensure that the amount of money they request is truly representative of their spending needs. Finally, each division arrives at an agreed upon amount of money to request, which the Vice President of Finance Nicholas Crain, MCAS ‘17, then drafts into a budget report detailing how the budget was derived and why each division needs its requested funds.
The largest sum of money within the budget is allocated to Division and Inclusion Programming, receiving $126,958.02. This portion of the budget is used for four large events: the Boat Cruise, Annual Ball, Gala and Showdown. Each of these events are ticketed, meaning that a portion of the money used to pay for these events comes from the DI Programming budget and the other portion from ticket sales. UGBC has been putting on these four events for years and knows precisely how much they need to allocate for these events. “These events cost more than this number... for Showdown they have been doing that for so long that they know down to the penny what it will cost,” said Olivia Hussey, Executive Vice President of UGBC and MCAS ‘17.
Despite the overall increase in funds allocated to UGBC, there were cutbacks in many of the departments from the 2014-15 academic year. The budget for the Executive Office was more than cut in half from the previous year. This office includes operations costs, stipends for the Executive President, Executive Vice President, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Vice President of Student Initiatives, Vice President of Student Organizations, Vice President of Communications and the Vice President of Financial Affairs, as well as discretionary funds, which include anything that was not anticipated by this year's budget. Additionally, the budgets for the Student Assembly and AHANA Leadership Council were both cut drastically.
However, these budget cuts come alongside increases in the budgets in other divisions, in addition to the newly added division, the Committee for Students with Disabilities (CSD). CSD is a new addition to the budget, as the organization only became active over the past year. This portion of the budget will go toward bringing awareness to the organization and other initiatives to support the advancement of the division. CSD joins Student Initiatives, Communications, Student Organizations, ULA and Diversity and Inclusion General, who all will experience increases in their budgets for the 2015-2016 academic year.
To ensure that the budget stays on track, the divisions convene for monthly budget check meets and perform quarterly audits. This helps ensure that no division is spending their money too fast or underutilizing their allocated funds.
The purpose of releasing the budget publically, says UGBC President Thomas Napoli, MCAS ‘16, is to be open with the student body about the organization's spending. “From my knowledge of past budgets, this is the most specific line by line,” he said. “We are really making an effort to be as transparent and responsible as possible.”